We had a guest lecturer at the Seminary yesterday, Rev Dr Stephen Willis, who wrote his PhD dissertation on the “relationship between premarital sexual activity and marital dissolution” through the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. While his talk had so many great talk points and gems to ponder on and even places of rebuke for us who are raising kids without any thorough thought processes.
But what stood out for me more than the sexual practices activity and unwise decisions made by our adolescents, was the awesome and important role and responsibility that we as youth pastors and adults leader should play in the lives of teenagers in assisting and guiding them to live lives of purity. But what should this guidance look like? How do we go about educating adolescents on this important topic and experience in their lives?
Dr Willis gave some advice on how to address this important aspect namely:
- We have to engage young people before they engage in any sexual practices. The mean age for sexual engagement and experimentation usually is around 15 years old. That means we have to begin engaging with teens by the time they hit the double figures. Yes that’s right, you read correctly. By the time they reach 10 years old, we should have engaged them from a responsible perspective otherwise they will be receiving the information from less reliable sources such as friends, the internet, movies and magazines. And with the steady moral decline out there we sure do not want to take that risk.
- We have to educate and empower parents to be able to have this dialogue with their kids. Believe it or not, parents are still the most influential sources and guides in the lives of adolescents. For too long have parents abdicated their roles and responsibility to youth workers, teachers and other people of “influence” to guide and teach on issues of morality in the lives of their youth. It’s no wonder why there is so much rebellion from teens against parents who just let go of their right and privilege to guide and nurture.
- We have to encourage younger ages for marriage. I know this might sound weird and against our cultural grain. But here’s the thinking. If adolescents are having sex at an earlier age and marrying at a later stage, then it becomes obvious that the years between will accumulate the amount of sexual partners engaged. Yet at the same time, it would be wise to delay dating to a later age so that there would be less temptations and pressures to engage in sexual activity. This simple, yet I can imagine volatile talk point could save our adolescents from facing and experiencing unnecessary risks of physical, emotional and even spiritual trauma.
So where to from here?
Let’s just get the conversation going! Put your voice in there!